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Players Are Review-Bombing Hi-Fi Rush, But In A Nice Way

Tango Gameworks

Steam reviews are usually a hellscape that players weaponize to grind their axes, but in the days following Microsoft’s closing of beloved Bethesda studios, some players are using them for good: They're currently (mostly) positively review-bombing the page for Hi-Fi Rush, from now-shuttered developer Tango Gameworks. 

Some people have tens of hours in the game, while others seem to have purchased or just started playing it following the news; as one reviewer writes, “Haven’t played much but disappointed with Microsoft.” Another review quotes VP of Xbox Game Marketing Aaron Greenberg’s now infamous quote about Hi-Fi Rush being “a breakout hit for us and our players in all key measurements and expectations.” Many of the reviews contain the relatable sentiment of “fuck Microsoft,” or its equivalent in symbols and family-friendly hearts. “Unlike Microsoft, we appreciate this studio,” writes a player with 16 hours on record. “Can’t wait for Microsoft to expand on this world… oh wait :(,” writes another, perhaps a reference to reports that Tango Gameworks was pitching a sequel when the studio was shut down. Another review echoes this, writing, “It's beyond baffling how Microsoft shut down Tango Gameworks, despite making an incredible game and they (Microsoft) themselves claimed to want to invest more in the studio just a year before. Not only that, they are tone-deaf enough to immediately say, after announcing the shutdown, that they ‘want more games like Hi-Fi Rush.’”

Most of the reviews are positive, though a few participants seem to have misread the assignment and given the game a negative review. At least one player seems to have bought the game to write “Bring the team back” and then refunded it.

The Steam page for 2017's Prey has seen an uptick in reviews as well. Though a much smaller spike, the sentiment is the same, with players writing things like “RIP Arkane Austin” and “[Arkane] deserved so much better.” “An absolute masterpiece from a studio taken from us,” writes another.

The Prey Steam review graph

Given Helldivers 2’s recent review-bombing debacle, which ended with Sony walking back requiring players to have a PlayStation account to play the game on Steam, I can see the hope that the flood of reviews will, as one player writes, “save Tango.” And we also know that Bethesda, or at least folks from Starfield, look at and respond to Steam reviews. In this instance, it seems unlikely that the review-bombing campaign will do anything to change Microsoft’s mind, but I doubt players intend it to. The review bombing seems more like a combo celebration/ cathartic group scream; it might not do much to stem the tide of horrors that is the games industry in 2024, but it’s nice to see.

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